Volunteers fill, distribute bags of food for Good Shepherd Center

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More than 50 members of the community came together Monday and Tuesday to make sure families throughout Warren County had a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings.

Monday, volunteers from the Vicksburg and Port City Kiwanis clubs, Vicksburg High Key Club, Ameristar Casino and more came together to fill bags with food for 230 families at Good Shepherd Community Center. Volunteers then returned on Tuesday to distribute the meals.

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“About the first or second week of October we will open up and start taking things,” Tommy Miller, director of Good Shepherd, said. “They have to be 65 or over or they have to have somebody in their family that has a disability. You meet those criteria, I don’t care what your income is you are qualified to get a bag from us.”

Miller said the center had been providing Thanksgiving meals for more than 20 years and this year will provide about 3,000 meals this year as each family is provided food for more than one meal.

“We try to make them have as nice a Thanksgiving meal as you or I would have,” Miller said. “We couldn’t do it without our volunteers. These people, some of the kids come and enjoy it. Some of them will be here to help give out the food and then some will be here Dec. 21 when we give out presents for Christmas.”

Each bag was filled with an assortment of canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, rice, cake mix, peanut butter and stuffing mix. Tuesday rolls and a ham were added to the bags before they were distributed.

The volunteers Monday ranged in age from three to 80 as the well-oiled machine filled all the bags in under an hour.

“I have been proud of our kids because they have had a tradition and a lot of experience of service,” Ed Wong, the Key Club sponsor at Vicksburg High, said of the students who were helping out. “I think they like it when they do it as a group. When you are isolated by yourself it is almost like work, but when you are with friends it goes by fast and it is an enjoyable experience.”

Many of the volunteers were members of the Vicksburg Kiwanis club, which has helped to fill and then distribute the bags for multiple years.

“I know him (Tommy) and I know the service community,” club president Heidi Burrell said. “You see the people who come in and are so grateful for what they are getting and you can tell it is obvious they need it. I have to support Tommy. He is such a blessing to the community and the population he serves.”

On a day when they could have been relaxing with no school, many Key Club members were in attendance helping to fill the bags and give back to the community.

“It is good to come out to help to pack for the families that don’t get to have this kind of stuff usually or they are not able to get it themselves,” club member Faye Valerio said. “It is nice to pack it for them and for them to have it for Thanksgiving. I have been doing this every year since I was in Key Club. It is really fun because we get to have fun with friends while also doing a good deed.”